Dear dessert oasis,
Where does one find fancy French butter, such as Echire, in Chicago? The overpriced organic/grass-fed stuff isn’t doing it for me. I know there’s a whole world of amazing butter out there, and I can no longer deprive myself of such joy.
An Aspiring Butter Snob
Dear Aspiring Butter Snob,
First, let me start off by saying that although butter isn’t a dessert, it is used in many desserts (*and also I love butter and cheese), so I will help spread some light on the subject. (might I also add that using fancy butter when ‘butter’ is called for in a cake recipe is, frankly, a waste. maybe spread fancy butter on top of the cake instead?? yes.)
If your local WF or Mariano’s isn’t enough to keep you cheerfully churned, might I suggest one of several Pastoral locations in Chicago. While cheese is their main act, they usually have a fairly decent butter selection as well.
Eataly has some fancytime butters, but they are most likely all Italian, so they might be lacking in the certain je ne sais quoi du beurre.
Blah blah, you’ve prob heard all that before if you’ve done any rudimentary Chicago butter searches, so are you ready for your hot insider tip? Are you ready to maybe take a short(ish) trek to find butter gold?? *whisper voice* Here you go: there is a situation called European Imports. They import all sorts of cheeses, chocolates, oils, BUTTERS, to various gourmet shops in Chicago, and a few times a year they have a warehouse sale. Let’s say a lb of Parmesan straight from Parma usually costs $100/lb (of course it doesn’t). Well at the Euro Imports sale that very same cheese costs $1/lb (or close to it). Forrealz. This little temporary heaven on Earth used to be housed in some tiny warehouse on Elston near Damen, but, get your hankies out, it has now moved to somewhere near Arlington Heights. WTF. I know. But still. Sign up for their newsletters on the website and mark that shit down in your calendar and make the journey. You will not be disappointed.
And lastly, see that glorious pic at the top? Well that, my buttery friend, is Amish cultured butter straight from the farms of central Illinois and available by the brick at Schnuck’s grocery store in Urbana. And you know very well who lives a pat’s throw from there….
Yours in all culinary quests,
ps: my dad’s nickname is Butter Boy
Have a dessert question? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org – from funnel cakes to fondue fountains, if it has sugar, I’ve probably eaten it.